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VWN Product Reviews: Exploiting Online Games: Cheating Massively Distributed Systems

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"The world is quickly going online. While I caution against online voting, it is clear that online gaming is taking the Internet by storm. In our new age where virtual items carry real dollar value, and fortunes are won and lost over items that do not really exist, the new threats to the intrepid gamer are all too real. To protect against these hazards, you must understand them, and this groundbreaking book is the only comprehensive source of information on how to exploit computer games. Every White Hat should read it. It's their only hope of staying only one step behind the bad guys."

--Aviel D. Rubin, Ph.D.
Professor, Computer Science
Technical Director, Information Security Institute
Johns Hopkins University



If you are a gamer, a game developer, a virtual environment provider, a software security professional, or an interested bystander, this book exposes the inner workings of online-game and world security for all to see.

From the authors of the best-selling Exploiting Software, Exploiting Online Games takes a frank look at controversial security issues surrounding MMORPGs, such as World of Warcraft and social virtual environments like Second Life and Activeworlds. This no-holds-barred book comes fully loaded with code examples, debuggers, bots, and hacks.

The book assumes a certain familiarity with technical terminology ? and specifically the vocabulary of online gaming. However, if you can get past that, it mainly deals with client-side exploits, and ways to trick the server.

The book gives a view into the kinds of security problems you ate going to experience if you create any server-based online environment that people would like to use. For this alone it is invaluable. However, on the flipside of course, it teaches gamers how to cheat at the MMORPGs they already play ? all of them.

Massive distributed systems can fail in the same ways that centralised systems can fail, but they're also likely to run trouble as they try to co-ordinate critical data between nodes. Money is usually regarded as critical data.

This book covers

* Why online games/VEs are a harbinger of software security issues to come
* How millions of gamers have created billion-dollar virtual economies
* How game companies invade personal privacy
* Why some gamers cheat
* Techniques for breaking online game/VE security
* How to build a bot to play a game for you
* Methods for total conversion and advanced mods

Written by the world's foremost software security experts, this book takes a close look at security problems associated with advanced, massively distributed software. With hundreds of thousands of interacting users, today's online games are a bellwether of modern software. The kinds of attack and defense techniques described in Exploiting Online Games are tomorrow's security techniques on display today.

"If we're going to improve our security practices, frank discussions like the ones in this book are the only way forward. Or as the authors of this book might say, when you're facing off against Heinous Demons of Insecurity, you need experienced companions, not to mention a Vorpal Sword of Security Knowledge."

--Edward W. Felten, Ph.D.
Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs
Director, Center for Information Technology Policy
Princeton University


About the Authors



Greg Hoglund has been involved with software security for many years, specializing in Windows rootkits and vulnerability exploitation. He founded the website www.rootkit.com, and has coauthored several books on software security (Exploiting Software: How to Break Code and Rootkits: Subverting the Windows Kernel, both from Addison-Wesley). Greg is a long-time game hacker and spends much of his free time reverse engineering and tooling exploits for new games. Professionally, Greg offers in-depth training on rootkit development and software exploits. He is currently CEO of HBGary, Inc. (www.hbgary.com), building a world-class product for software reverse engineering and digital forensics.

Gary McGraw is the CTO of Cigital, Inc., a software security and quality consulting firm with headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area. He is a globally recognized authority on software security and the author of six best-selling books on this topic. The latest, Software Security: Building Security In, was released in 2006. His other titles include Java Security (Wiley), Building Secure Software (Addison-Wesley), and Exploiting Software (Addison-Wesley). He is the editor of the Addison-Wesley Software Security Series. Dr. McGraw has also written more than 90 peer-reviewed scientific publications, writes a monthly security column for darkreading.com, and is frequently quoted in the press. Besides serving as a strategic counselor for top business and IT executives, Gary is on the advisory boards of Fortify Software and Raven White. His dual Ph.D. is in cognitive science and computer science from Indiana University where he serves on the Dean's Advisory Council for the School of Informatics. Gary is an IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors member and produces the monthly Silver Bullet Security Podcast for IEEE Security & Privacy magazine.

 

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